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Book Report

Finding Your Calling

By Andrea Appleton

The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters

Wes Moore
Cover of The Work
Will Kirk

Wes Moore has been a Rhodes Scholar, a soldier, a White House fellow, and a Wall Street banker. His first book, The Other Wes Moore, was a best-seller. Yet through it all, Moore found himself seeking the “clarifying passion” that would tell him he’d found his true role. His new book, The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters (Spiegel & Grau, 2015), is the story of that quest

Moore, a 2001 graduate of Johns Hopkins, finnds himself at the epicenter of some of the most important events of the last decade, including the war in Afghanistan and the financial crisis. The lessons he gleans from these experiences are “implicit and largely [in the book] for inspiration.” While Moore isn’t heavy-handed with his advice, it is there for the attentive reader to take or leave. In “The Lesson of the Risk Taker,” a chapter about his decision to quit his Wall Street job at the peak of the financial crisis, Moore writes: “I began to recognize that the best decisions I had made in my life were the ones where I let go of fear and had confidence in myself, my training, and God.”

Moore intersperses chapters from his life story with pocket biographies of people who’ve inspired him. One is Esther Benjamin, who rose from poverty in rural Sri Lanka to become associate director of the Peace Corps. Benjamin gets up at 4 a.m. every morning, propelled by a “joyful relentlessness,” sometimes going on to work 18-hour days. “I’m grateful to work hard,” she tells Moore. 

In his book, Moore seeks to help readers find the work that would get them cheerfully out of bed at 4 a.m.  

"This book is not a how-to guide. Finding my work was not a matter of following prescribed steps—it was, and is, an ongoing journey, not a 10-point program. Along the way there have been wild adventures and startling epiphanies, but there were also moments of fear and inertia, cases of missteps and failure.” 

Cover of $2 a Day
Photo by Tina Berning

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America 

Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

A revelatory account of poverty in America, $2.00 a Day sheds light on the 1.5 million house holds surviving on virtually no income. Edin, a Johns Hopkins sociologist and one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers, uses vivid and grip ping case studies to show  how people live and what led them to this dire economic reality.

Cover of Nature, Choice and Social Power
Photo by Tina Berning

Nature, Choice and Social Power

Erica Schoenberger

The author analyzes how different forms of social power—political, economic, and ideological—impact the choices we make and endanger the environment. Schoenberger, a Johns Hopkins professor of geography and environmental engineering, examines what led to the current environmental crisis and what it will take to fix it.

cover of the Traumatized Brain
Photo by Tina Berning

The Traumatized Brain

Vani Rao and Sandeep Vaishnavi

Two neuropsychiatrists explain the science behind traumatic brain injury and advise readers on how emotional, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms can be addressed. By illuminating the health realities, Rao, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of psychiatry, and Duke’s Vaishnavi provide guidance and education to patients.

5 Picks

Sameer Dixit

Illustration of Sameer Dixit

Sports medicine expert Sameer Dixit offers his top five books to inspire, or question, your fitness revolution. 


  1. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

    John J. Ratey
    Little, Brown and Company (2013)
  2. Born to Run

    Christopher McDougall
    Vintage (2011)
  3. Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?

    Alex Hutchinson
    William Morrow (2011)
  4. The Cure for Everything: Untangling Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness, and Happiness

    Timothy Caulffield
    Beacon Press (2013)
  5. Until It Hurts: America's Obsession With Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids

    Mark Hyman
    Beacon Press (2010)

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